Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Seiveright urges more than ‘so-so weed’

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2017 | 1:00 AMMel Cooke
Junior Gordon speaks at Saturday's Herb Kerb discussoon, which preceded night two's concerts of the 2017 Rebel Salute Festival at Grizzly's Plantatioon Cove, Priory, St Ann.
Delano Seiveright (left), a disrector of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), speaks at Saturday's Herb Kerb discussion, moderated by poet and broadcaster Mutaruka (right) at Rebel Salute 2017, Grizzzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann.
Preparing a ganja spliff on the streets of downtown Kingston.
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Delano Seiveright, who represented the Government during Saturday evening's Herb Kerb symposium at Rebel Salute, advised those involved in the budding cannabis industry to develop products rather than depend on just the core plant.

"It can't be just selling so-so weed," Seiveright said at the discussion, which preceded the second night of concerts at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann. He said that there is a demand for marijuana trinkets, for example, and urged persons to get innovative and go into areas like tourism.

Now in its second consecutive year, Rebel Salute's Herb Kerb is a display of marijuana products and a discussion of issues surrounding the plant, including legislation and commercialisation. Held near the venue's beach, it was hosted by poet and broadcaster Mutabaruka.

Seiveright, director of the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force and a director of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), gave an update on the granting of licences. He explained that there has to be extensive investigation of applicants, with more than 130 applications received so far. "So we are going to go through them. There is a board meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) to settle that," Seiveright said.

 

TRUMP'S ROLE

 

Mutabaruka asked if Donald Trump winning the US presidential election has had an effect on the process, and Seiveright said: "We believe Trump is a businessman ... What we are being told is that he has no intention of swinging it either way."

However, Seiveright noted that Jamaica's treatment of marijuana is coming under intense scrutiny from other countries, even those further advanced in the legislative process. Still, he said there has been significant progress in a short time span. "We are told that what we are doing in Jamaica is being done in record time," Seiveright said.

In developing a cannabis industry, Junior Gordon advised that a grower has to have the best soil and also the best plants genetically. "Planting ganja and putting fertiliser on it, those days are over," Gordon said.

Seiveright and Gordon were among a number of speakers at the Herb Kerb symposium, the question-and-answer segment of which was cut out as it would have overlapped with the concert's start on the main stage.